As a mob entered the nation’s U.S. Capitol and prevented a count of electoral votes this afternoon, Gov. JB Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of Illinois Department of Public Health, gave an update on COVID-19 in Illinois.
Gov. Pritzker said, “Illinois did not experience the post-Thanksgiving uptick at a rate that plagued most of the rest of the country. And we’re watching closely in this incubation period post-Christmas and New Year’s. I’m cautiously optimistic as there are some early signs indicating that some regions have made real progress and won’t reverse that progress this week or next. So, on January 15, exactly one incubation period from New Year’s Day, any region that has met the metrics for a reduction of mitigations will be able to move out of Tier 3 of our mitigation plan.”
He asked everyone in the State to help make that possible “by wearing a mask and keeping your distance.”
Gov. Pritzker gave an update on vaccinations in the State. He said as of last night, approximately 344,525 total doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been delivered to Illinois, not counting those delivered to Chicago, and that 206,106 doses have been administered to date, including those administered in a second round of doses.
In addition, Gov. Pritzker said 114,075 doses from Illinois’ allotment have been set aside for the federal government’s Long Term Care vaccination program, again not counting the doses set aside for Chicago.
Gov. Pritzker said the vaccinations to date have taken place following the Phase 1a recommendations of CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
So far, he said, “Approximately one-third of our healthcare workforce outside of Chicago has received the vaccine.”
He added that the delivery of the vaccines has remained at a lower pace than expected. Illinois has now an allotment of approximately 120,000 doses per week, 60,000 each of Moderna and Pfizer. He added that the incoming Biden administration has pledged to invoke the Defense Production Act, “so that we expect the vaccine production will grow significantly over the coming month.”
Gov. Pritzker also discussed one change he was making to ACIP’s recommended priorities for vaccinations.
Under ACIP’s recommendations, seniors 75 and older and essential workers will be vaccinated in Phase 1b. Gov. Pritzker said, “I believe strongly that we ought to protect more of our seniors earlier than ACIP has recommended.” He said, “The one area where we are diverging from the ACIP recommendations is this: In Illinois, if you are 65 and over, you can get vaccinated in Phase 1b.”
The rationale for the change was that the average age of death from COVID-19 is lower than age 75 for Black and Latinx people in Illinois. He said the average white person who died from COVID-19 was age 81. The average age of for Black people who died from COVID-19 was 72, and for Latinx people it is 68.
“For people of color multi-generational institutional racism in the provision of health care has reduced access to care, caused higher rates of environmental and social risk, and increased comorbidity,” said Gov. Pritzker. “I believe our exit plan for this pandemic must on balance overcome structural inequalities that have allowed COVID-19 to rage through our most vulnerable communities. Lowering our minimum age for vaccinations in Phase 1 is one critical component in addressing that.”
The change applies to all people 65 and over.
There were 20 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today.
The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 18.4, up from 13.9 on Dec. 30. For purposes of comparison, on Oct. 12, the seven-day average was 5.6.
There has been a total of 3,210 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 333 of which are active. An accompanying chart shows the trend. 
In the last seven days, there was a total of 129 new COVID-19 cases of Evanstonians. That equates to about 172 new cases per 100,000 people in the seven-day period. IDPH’s target to control community spread is 50.
The case positivity rate over the last seven days is 3.8%.
No Evanstonian died due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at 96.
In the State, there were 7,569 new COVID-19 cases reported today.
Statewide, the average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 6,272. This is the ninth day in a row that the seven-day average has increased. The seven-day average one week ago, on Dec. 30, was 5,330, so today’s number is a 17% increase.
Today’s seven-day average, though, is down from an all-time high of 12,380 on Nov. 17.
In the seven days ending Jan. 6, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the State was 347.
The seven-day case positivity rate for the State today is 8.4% and the test positivity rate is 9.9%. IDPH’s target to control community spread is 5%.
On a Statewide basis, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 3,928 as of midnight on Jan. 5. This is down from an all-time high of 6,171 on Nov. 23.
The number of patients using ICU beds is 812, down from 1,195 on Dec. 1. The number of patients on ventilators is 451, down from 724 on Dec. 1.
Deaths: On a Statewide basis, there were 139 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 17,096.
For the last seven days, the numbers of deaths in the State are 133, 155, 29, 81, 79. 124, and 139. The seven-day average is 105.
FOR A MORE DETAILED ARTICLE COVERING KEY METRICS FOR EVANSTON, SUBURBAN COOK COUNTY, CHICAGO AND ILLIONOIS AS OF JAN. 5 CLICK HERE.